Data centers are filled with sensitive equipment, all the way down to the platters spinning inside a hard drive at thousands of revolutions per minute. A tiny mechanical arm rests on a cloud of air manipulating the magnetic charge on these platters. If even a bit of dust is enough to cause the arm to hit the platter and crash the hard drive, imagine the risks posed by natural disasters.
Seismic zones measure the risk of an earthquake. A seismic zone of 4, for example, means that there is a 10% probability of the area within the zone experiencing an earthquake with an active peak ground acceleration of 0.4g in the next 50 years. 0.4g is four tenths the acceleration of gravity. Similarly, a seismic zone of 1 indicates a 10% chance of the area experiencing an earthquake with an active PGA or 0.1g in the next fifty years. View Larger
A common occurrence in the Midwest and Tornado Alley, tornadoes pose a significant risk to data centers. There are options to combat the treacherous conditions experienced under the extreme conditions of a F5 tornado. Winds can reach speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour, for example. If at all possible, locations at high risk of tornadoes should be strongly avoided. View Larger
As with tornadoes, hurricanes pose a significant risk to data centers. It's not difficult to imagine the levels of catastrophe that can be caused by a disastrous hurricane. While analysts could not agree on an exact number, some estimates indicate that Hurricane Katrina caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. Hazardous zones for hurricanes include the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern seaboard. View Larger
Although they are not typically viewed as a great threat when compared to earthquakes or hurricanes, lightning strikes are a much more notable threat with respect to data centers. As most electronics, including servers, are sensitive to electronic interference, geographic locations with high densities of lightning strikes are best to be avoided. Areas of high risk include areas of Florida. View Larger